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Cropped image of woman in black high heels massaging her tired legs, suffering from varicose vein pain

The Dangers of Leaving Varicose Veins Untreated

If you’re contemplating whether or not to get your varicose veins treated, doing so sooner rather than later may be the better option for you. Here are some of the dangers people may experience if varicose veins are left untreated.

They can cause pain-related symptoms

Varicose veins may be just a cosmetic issue, or they can cause symptoms such as aching and heaviness of the legs that is often worse after standing and relieved by elevation. Furthermore, varicose veins can be a cause of restless legs and swelling.

Skin changes in the legs

As the condition progresses, it can lead to skin changes in the legs. Skin changes occur over the lower legs and often start around the ankle area and spread up the legs. Initially, people will complain of itchy dry patches (varicose eczema). With time, these can progress to dark brown pigmented areas, thickening of the skin and underlying fat so that skin becomes hard and woody feeling. The affected skin will heal poorly and is prone to forming ulcers. If varicose veins are treated early, when the skin changes first appear then early skin changes will generally completely resolve. Once areas of pigmented areas or thickening of the skin develop, these tend to be less reversible after treatment.

The risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT)

If you have varicose veins, there is a small increase in the risk of developing a deep vein thrombosis (DVT). DVT is a serious condition, where a blood clot forms in a vein located deep inside the body. This can be reduced by treatment of the underlying incompetent veins.

Varicose vein damage

Varicose veins can be knocked or damaged. When they are damaged, this causes slow, but significant ongoing bleeding which can be hard to stop. There are cases of elderly people having life-threatening bleeding from damage to varicose veins. If areas of ulceration have developed, then treatment of the veins will help with healing.

What to do if you are suffering from varicose vein symptoms

If varicose veins are causing you cosmetic or mild symptoms, then there is no rush to treat them, but we know that varicose veins do tend to get worse with time. I would recommend discussing treatment options with one of our doctors if you have symptoms of aching, swelling, or early skin changes as early treatment can prevent progression. If you are suffering from ulcers, or marked swelling and skin changes, then treatment of underlying varicose veins will help stop any further progression.

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